Monday, January 22, 2007

Look Ma, I'm a Home Owner

So we moved. What a roller coaster ride. I'll take it day by day.

We woke up as usual and brought The Boy to daycare. Off to Walmart to buy paint and other stuff. Went back to the apartment to sit and try to pass the time. We were at the title company fifteen minutes early, but luckily, the lady was ready for us, and Chester was able to start signing all the paperwork right away. My name's not on the deed or the mortgage. I'm okay with that. Wisconsin is a community property state anyway, so I'd be protected in case of anything serious happening.

So we got the keys to OUR HOUSE. We drove there and went in and took a close look at everything. Don't get me wrong. I LOVE this house, but this process was depressing. Nice, "everything's perfect" houses were out of our price range. The house we did buy is older and in good condition, but still not totally terrific. A little bit of a fixer-upper.

1. There's not actually plumbing for a shower. It's a hose coming up from the tap and then the hand-held shower head is screwed into the wall. We will be ripping out the wall to actually run some plumbing pipe and actually have a real shower, not a jerry-rigged one.

2. Since the house didn't technically have a shower, the dumbasses put the heating vent for the bathroom in the shower stall. The vent is right at our line of sight, maybe a little above, right where we stand to shower. This is intensely annoying. We'll need to re-route the vent over the shower and through the space above the shower ceiling. We will have to rip out the ceiling and then patch the shower surround where the vent was.

3. The kitchen stove. There's not a hood above the stove. As a matter of fact, the cabinets over the stove are a mere foot above the back burners. This Is Not Safe. I refuse to cook on the back burners unless we pull the stove into the middle of the kitchen a bit. The fix for this is a little more difficult than the bathroom stuff. The cabinets are original, and we'd like to keep them, but Chester will have to take the doors off, cut the bottom half of the cabinet off, reinforce the bottom, install a hood, re-work and re-shape the cabinet doors to reuse the old, original hardware. This is a complicated project since all of the cabinets are connected and built as one-piece. There will be some creative circular saw work going on.

4. The window in Ben's bedroom needs to be replaced. The panes pop right out with a little pressure. There's storm windows, but it's still not a safe scenario, and it's definitely not energy efficient. That whole north wall of his bedroom looks like it had some extensive water damage several years ago and had to be replastered. It's all wonky and bulging in some places. This is by far, the most expensive fix we've come across. The window is about five feet across, so replacing it will be pricey. This will have to wait until summer at least.

That's about it. The rest is just cosmetic and not really necessary. This was enough to throw me into an emotional tailspin on Friday. I just sat in the corner of our empty dining room and cried. I didn't want to move, I didn't want the house, I didn't want the responsibility, and I definitely didn't want change. Poor Chester. How much he has to put up with!

I devoted the evening to playing with Ben and picking up all the house clutter to prepare for the Hell That Would Be Saturday.

We wake up. We run around like headless chickens, pulling everything together, taking everything apart. Chester runs Ben to the babysitter's house. When he gets back, some of the moving help has arrived, and I pack up the kitties. I get the joy of transporting the screaming, hissing cats to the new house. At this point I just pretty much sit in the corner and watch the show. All the guys are hauling and carrying and being efficient.

It took three loads to get everything over to the new place. Instead of actually bringing the boxes and furniture to the rooms I had indicated (I used masking tape to label everything with the room name that the item belonged in), they just piled everything into the living room and dining room. I'm okay with that, I guess, but it was kind of a let down to realize that we had to haul all of Ben's furniture upstairs ourselves.

By the time we picked up Ben, my sister and her family were just half an hour away from arriving. They came to see the new house and to visit. Then my mother showed up. Chaos ensued. My sister's family was hungry, so my mom took them to get something to eat. I was left alone an eight-year-old, a 12-month-old, and a 2-month-old. When they got back, my dear mother didn't know where to park, so she drove down the alley and pulled into our backyard. And got stuck in the snow.

My sister, at this point, realized that it was a huge pain in the butt for her to have come over like this, and started to carry boxes down into the basement or upstairs (depending on the nifty label). I tried to explain to her that I didn't really care, that I liked the company. Oh well.

After she left, my mom and I went to Shopko to shop. I bought a slipcover for our sofa and curtains and curtain rods for our living room. For some reason, this made me intensely more satisfied with our new house.

The only goal I set for myself was to put away the kitchen stuff. First things first, though. We showered and bundled up and went out for breakfast. Then to the hardware store to spend too much money on things like kitty doors, shower rods, baby gates, etc. When we got home, it was time for my weekend nap (I insisted). Ben napped as well. He was kind of fussy and not feeling the greatest, and he slept on and off all day.

We got a bunch of little stuff done, but everything is still looking chaotic and messy. We paid more attention to Benji. He started spiking a fever yesterday afternoon. Very miserable. Poor widdle man.

Chester took the day off. He brought Ben to Urgent Care after dropping me off at work. Benji has an ear infection. They will stay home together and cuddle. I'm at work again, ready to pretend that my life is normal, orderly and predictable. Geez, this was a long post.